Data_Sheet_1_On the Neurophysiological Mechanisms Underlying the Adaptability to Varying Cognitive Control Demands.docx (309.15 kB)

Data_Sheet_1_On the Neurophysiological Mechanisms Underlying the Adaptability to Varying Cognitive Control Demands.docx

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posted on 16.10.2018 by Nicolas Zink, Ann-Kathrin Stock, Amirali Vahid, Christian Beste

Cognitive control processes are advantageous when routines would not lead to the desired outcome, but this can be ill-advised when automated behavior is advantageous. The aim of this study was to identify neural dynamics related to the ability to adapt to different cognitive control demands – a process that has been referred to as ‘metacontrol.’ A sample of N = 227 healthy subjects that was split in a ‘high’ and ‘low adaptability’ group based on the behavioral performance in a task with varying control demands. To examine the neurophysiological mechanisms, we combined event-related potential (ERP) recordings with source localization and machine learning approaches. The results show that individuals who are better at strategically adapting to different cognitive control demands benefit from automatizing their response processes in situations where little cognitive control is needed. On a neurophysiological level, neither perceptual/attentional selection processes nor conflict monitoring processes paralleled the behavioral data, although the latter showed a descriptive trend. Behavioral differences in metacontrol abilities were only significantly mirrored by the modulation of response-locked P3 amplitudes, which were accompanied by activation differences in insula (BA13) and middle frontal gyrus (BA9). The machine learning result corroborated this by identifying a predictive/classification feature near the peak of the response-locked P3, which arose from the anterior cingulate cortex (BA24; BA33). In short, we found that metacontrol is associated to the ability to manage response selection processes, especially the ability to effectively downregulate cognitive control under low cognitive control requirements, rather than the ability to upregulate cognitive control.

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